With it being Thanksgiving weekend, I thought it appropriate to share my appreciation for some of the posts I remember most from the past year. About a year ago, I began my own blog. My first post was a simple copy and paste of an email exchange I had with an author. Since then, I have posted 81 times. In all of my efforts, I aspire to write something as thought-provoking, reflective and meaningful as these bloggers have in the following posts.
They aren’t listed in any kind of order. I feel uncomfortable saying one post is better than another, as they all brought a unique perspective to my current thinking. Nor am I saying that these are necessarily the best posts of the year, although you could make a case for any one of them. There are too many bloggers out there that I have yet to discover. As well, not all of these posts were written this year (my post, my rules). What they all have in common is a) I still remember what they wrote, and b) I liked them so much that I bookmarked each one for future reference and shared them with other educators.
Eight Things Skilled Teachers Think, Say, and Do by Larry Ferlazzo
When I shared this article (not technically a blog post but again, my rules) with my staff via Pinterest, they responded very positively. A couple of colleagues even asked, “Does he write more about this?” Larry is a prodigious blogger and author who still manages to teach in the classroom. I probably bookmark his posts more than any other educator.
Reflecting on My iPad Grant Thus Far…A Story of Celebrating Failure by Jenny Magiera
I like this phrase, “celebrating failure”. Jenny, a teacher and Apple Distinguished Educator in Chicago, deeply and honestly reflects on her initial implementation steps when she receives a $20,000 iPad grant for her classroom.
Reducing Instruction, Increasing Engagement by Peter Johnston
Alright, if I had to pick one post and say, “You must read this”, I would have to go with Peter Johnston’s entry on Stenhouse’s Blogstitute this past summer. He manages to address best instructional practices, student engagement, technology, Common Core standards and at-risk behaviors all in one post. And he uses evidence from his own study to back up his assertions. You could take this post along with Richard Allington’s ASCD article “Every Child, Every Day” and facilitate an entire year of professional conversations in your school based on what they have written.
The Power of the Principal by Peter DeWitt
Peter is an elementary principal and a regular blogger for Education Week. He is a great representative for all administrators, touching on many different topics that relate to our challenging and often-challenged profession. In this post, Peter deftly responds to the question “Do Schools Need Principals?”.
Educators: Keep Using Your Brain, Don’t Eat It by Curt Rees
Curt is a principal in Wisconsin like myself. His writing is always thought-provoking and many times humorous. In this post, he compares the unfortunate life cycle of the sea squirt to how some educators lose their drive to stay current in effective pedagogy. I appreciate his candor and his ability to make connections between the new and the known.
The Importance of Read Aloud (at home and school) by Jessica Johnson
Jessica is another Wisconsin principal and truly a learner. Her blog clearly showcases an educator willing to consider new practices and replace outdated ones. As a principal, she also walks the walk. Jessica promotes No Office Days and gets into her school’s classrooms regularly to try out and model new instructional strategies. In this post, she summarizes our discussion about reading aloud to kids when they already know how to read.
The Role of Principals as Reader Leaders by Alyson Beecher, Donalyn Miller
I would be hard pressed to come up with two other educators as good as Alyson and Donalyn in promoting best reading practices. I regularly rely on their posts for suggestions in my own school. This entry provides great ideas for principals and other instructional leaders to promote a love for reading in their schools.
A Plea to Teachers with iPads: Make Your Teaching Visible by Justin Reich
What Justin did here is give permission to teachers to bypass the normal research and publication process about the effects of an educational tool and just share what they have found to be best practices. Mobile technology is still pretty new to schools. Justin recognizes that we don’t have time to wait around for quantitative evidence of their effectiveness. Is it working? Great! Now share.
Scrapbook is Not a Verb by Miss Night
Miss Night, kindergarten teacher and co-moderator of #kinderchat, provides an excellent “unhow-to” guide for using Evernote to develop digital portfolios for students. My guess is she writes like she speaks, which makes her posts so easy to read. I appreciate Miss Night’s sense of humor in addition to her sound teaching practices.
Why Blog? by Christopher Smeaton
I recently co-presented at an administrator conference about leveraging Web 2.0 tools for better home-school communications. I chose Chris’ post here to share with principals considering starting their own blog. It provides a great rationale for why all educators should be writing for an audience, namely their colleagues and their community.
When We Admit Our Faults or When Math Blows Up In Your Face by Pernille Ripp
It takes a little courage to blog about your general experiences as an educator for all the world to see. But to write about when a lesson doesn’t go well? Strong stuff. I could have picked many of Pernille’s posts to highlight here, but I chose this one because of its honesty. Mrs. Ripp could teach in my school any day.
work/life dilemma by Phil Griffins
Phil has joined me in a blogathon (#blogathon) this month, where we attempt to post once a day in November. To say it has been a challenge is an understatement. On the flip side I think we have both grown as writers. In his most recent post, Phil reflects on his decision to either go to an annual parade with his kids or attend edcampNJ. He makes the right choice.
Making Fruit Tarts by Regie Routman
Regie compares her twenty years mastering this baking skill to the growth model teachers should follow to become master educators. She is a prolific writer who doesn’t get too caught up in the current initiatives. Regie stays grounded in best practices because they never go out of style. My only wish is she would post more, but I will take what I can get.
What’s the Big Deal About Blogging? by Tom Whitby
All of the Edublog nominations on the right side of his page are not surprising as I read his posts. He is an expert in the field who is also willing to share his ideas with honesty and humility; in other words, a life long learner. This post very much typifies what it means to be a reflective practitioner.